- A 46-year-old man was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
- Christopher Tshivule was found guilty of defrauding the National Lotteries Commission of over R1.5 million.
- The money was granted to a local NGO in Bekkersdal and was meant for youth development.
A Johannesburg man was sentenced to eight years in jail for defrauding the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) of over R1.5 million.
The Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court heard how Christopher Tshivule, 46, “hijacked” a non-profit organisation (NPO), called “The Message”, which operated in Bekkersda
The NPO’s main focus was youth development and empowerment.
It is alleged the chairperson of the NPO, Billy Itumeleng Simamane, convened a board meeting and discussed the proposal to approach the NLC for funding, said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.
The board supported the idea and documents, like the NPO’s constitution and certificates, were handed to Tshivule, who said he knew a manager at the NLC who could help secure the funding.
Mjonondwane said that, when the funds did not reach the NPO, Simamane made inquiries with the NLC. He discovered their funding application had been approved and dividends had been paid to an account, of which Tshivule was the sole signatory.
According to the grant application form, Tshivule misrepresented himself as the chairperson of the NPO. He applied for funding in the amount of R3 million for the mobilising and organising of a Traditional Arts Festival, among other things.
On 8 October 2018, on the strength of the NPO certificate and the fraudulent grant application form, funding worth R1.575 million was granted.
In aggravation of sentence, the senior State advocate, Phuti Matabane, led the evidence of the probation officer, who recommended direct imprisonment. Tshivule, it was said, was driven by greed and had used money meant to uplift the community.
Matabane argued that the NLC was on the brink of collapse because of people like Tshivule, who milked its coffers without thinking of the needy who were meant to benefit from the funds.
“He [Matabane] further argued that the accused pleaded guilty, not as a sign of remorse, but because he was aware that there was overwhelming evidence against him,” said Mjonondwane.
The magistrate, Brian Nemavhidi, said white collar crime had reached alarming proportions, which was why the courts had to send a message that it would be dealt with severely.